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Obaseki’s education reform: Edo Poly floats Nigeria’s first Open Distance Flexible Learning programme

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… capacity building for resource persons commences

In furtherance of the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration’s focus on capacity-building and continuous education, the Management of the Edo State Polytechnic, Usen, (formerly Edo State Institute of Technology and Management) has concluded plans to commence its Open Distance and Flexible Learning (ODFL) programme, in the next six months, the first in a Nigerian polytechnic.

The course to be featured for now in the programme, is Public Administration. Other courses to be included in the first phase of implementation include Accountancy, Business Administration and Computer Science.

The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) recently gave the nod for 29 polytechnics to pioneer the ODFL system, in a move to increase access to Technical and Vocational Education (TVET) through the schools, and Edo Poly will be the first to float the programme.

Rector of the institution, Prof. Abiodun Falodun, who disclosed this in a chat with journalists, said that the objective of setting up the programme is to increase access to Technical and Vocational Education (TVET) to indigenes and residents in Edo State and environs, improve visibility of the polytechnic globally, allows for the internationalisation of learning opportunities and access to global resources and experts via internet communication and Internet resources.

He noted that in preparation for the smooth take-off of the programme, a mandatory 3-day training for all academic and some non-academic staff has been organised to hold from August 27 – 29, 2018 at the ICT Centre of Edo State Polytechnic.

“At the conclusion of the training, the Polytechnic intends to mount its online distance and flexible learning programme within the next six months,” he said.

According to him, “We are going to be the first polytechnic in Nigeria to run the ODFL programme. In the University system, University of Ibadan, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) and Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), already run such programmes. The University of Benin (UNIBEN) is about to start, with Accountancy. So, we are the first polytechnic.”

He added that three renowned ODL experts in the field of Online Distance and Flexible Learning will anchor the training, led by Prof. Bayo Okunade of the University of Ibadan, and explained that the decision to run the proposed ODFL programmes became expedient with the increasing adoption of technology for teaching and learning.

“The training programme is expected to cover the basic requirements to commence the running of the programme.

Also speaking, the Director of the Edo Poly Distance Learning School (EP-DLS), Dr. Kess Aisikhia, revealed that the training for staff will cover a wide range of issues in ODFL, which, according to him, include “legal policies to guide staff on aspects such as intellectual property, plagiarism, liability, educational technology, and labour relations. Student policies to regulate aspects such as registration, resources, training and tutoring, assessment, and student support services.”

The other areas are: “Technical policies, including ICT issues, internet and contractual agreements. Functions of webmaster, instructional designers, course administrators, e-tutors, and computer assistants. The role and integration of hardware, software, distance delivery technologies, technical staff, and academic support for staff, Instructional development support staff, administrative support, student services, financial plans and staff development and training.”

The rector said the other deliverables of the training are: “How to deploy support function such as curriculum and course development system, call centre, examination administration centre, student support services, student counselling and career development, strategic planning, administration, staffing and training, control and monitoring for quality, policy, organisation and culture, course development, support structures, teaching and learning processes and challenges.”

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